Monday, November 25, 2013

Ten With Michael Easton

With Michael Easton

Alternately cool and goofy, Michael Easton defies definition in any conventional sense. If he had his way, he’d be holed up at least six to eight hours a day, building universes of pissed-off, crusading, or wounded souls looking for diamonds in creosote.  Read an Easton novel, and you might wonder if he thunders through the week with a scowl on his face, shooting off sarcastic comments so dry they don’t drip—they evaporate.  Or that the bouquet of Gothic broodiness wafts in his wake, like the smell of Pantene after a blow-dry.  

Not so much.

Described by TVGuide’s Michael Logan as a “kind, wise, old soul”, Easton is approachable, easygoing, funny, and modest.  Yeah, he really does love writing for hours on end, but he also loves his other job, too, and enjoys both thoroughly as creative outlets that turn the topsoil and keep things fresh.  And while there’s definite depth and blazing intelligence beneath that absolutely ridiculous mane of hair, he’s not exactly Heathcliffy about it. He likes absurdity as much as anyone, loves the silliness of life, and knows that laughing about it is essential to surfacing past the other crap.

It was a real pleasure to ask him about Credence, his new novel with Blackwatch Comics, and about the parts of him that went into parts of the pages.


ARD:   How do you write this sort of story? Do you meet with the artist and go through a general discussion? Do you storyboard it out? Write it out in prose or script form and then send it to Steven in bits? My prose-loving brain can’t wrap itself around the logistics. It’s an extremely generous way of writing.

ME: I write a script, essentially how I see the book in words. In the end product the reader only gets the dialogue but about eighty percent of what I write is only read by the artist – creating an atmosphere that hopefully inspires the world he then draws.


ARD:   I heard or read somewhere you got the idea for the story from doing ride-alongs with NYPD as you researched McBain.  Some of it had to be pretty jarring and viscerally upsetting.  Would you do it again?

ME: In a heartbeat. I am humbled by people serving in law enforcement and am particularly fond of the officers I met in the NYPD.


ARD:   When I was in college, Stephen King was a neighbor of mine. He used to guest lecture at my university (also his alma mater), and I’d run into him at the grocery store all the time. Scariest thing about him is how utterly, completely normal he is. And he can write about such menace that it makes me nervous to have the book on my nightstand.

So, I’ve never ‘met’ you, but…um, what the hell, dude?

ME: Well, there’s the life we live with and the one we create with and those can often be two, very different, spirits.


ARD:   It was hard for me to stick with Credence sometimes; the story is –or was for me—incredibly confrontational. I’m no shrinking violet, but I had to really resolve to stay in my chair and move through it. Even in the second and third go-rounds, I found myself wondering if you had moments of, ‘Jesus, this is too much. I need to take a second.’

ME:  Not so much. If you’re going to go there you might as well go first class, one-way. I think it was effective for explaining the state of mind of Daniel Credence.


ARD:  Danny Credence is a shit.  I kept jotting down stuff like ‘uncomfortable in his skin’, ‘uncomfortable with joy’, ‘uncomfortable with comfort’. He’s just uncomfortable.  He can’t sit with moments of joy or contentment or quiet, can he? If something like that settles on him, he jumps up and goes out to find something that creates discord. He wants to mess it up to some degree. Or am I reading him wrong and he’s just misunderstood? I mean, he did save the dog.

ME: Most of the characters I tend to like or write about often have the deck stacked against them.  They’ve had bad things happen to them, and they're often fueled by anger and regret, and you mostly expect them to turn out bad -- yet when it comes down to choosing between right and wrong, some small part of them pushes them to do good -- even if it means losing everything they have…


ARD: I mentioned how Stephen King is rather the antithesis of some of the things he writes. I’m also sticking with Credence being a shit – albeit a funny and fairly likeable one. He’s got a raft of faults and character flaws. Which one came from you, and why did you give it to him?

ME: Can’t tell you…


ARD:   You wrote a collection of poetry (Eighteen Straight Whiskeys), and a script/biopic about Montgomery Clift, but no prose work, per se, correct?   I’m just curious as to why.

ME: I’m pacing myself…


ARD:   The idea of you at Comic-Con tickled the hell out of me. This is an event that started as a small, genre-geek specific weekend that has turned into mandatory-attendance for…well, pretty much everyone. It’s not just about comic books anymore.

I know that raises the bar for small publishers—but I wonder if, in the glut of other entertainment, like Boba Fetts mingling with Arcadian slave girls on the gallery floor, or Princess Leias canoodling with Captain Kirks, comics and graphic novels kinda get lost in the mix? Or has it made the genre more marketable, more prominent because of a more widespread, diverse audience at these conventions?

ME:  It can be overwhelming and certainly it’s become more about “popular culture” than just comic books. Occasionally you can feel a little lost as a small comic book publisher. That being said, it’s still the best venue to be able to meet other writers and artists and to interact with the fans. The feedback you get from those one on one encounters and the conventions I find invaluable.


ARD:   I heard about the urinal story at Comic-Con. What was your big geek/starstruck moment? And please don’t tell me that was it.  I’ll be crushed.

ME:  Seeing the cast of “Game of Thrones” in the lobby of our hotel and having a brief chat with George RR Martin.


ARD:   I heard tell that Credence might be a trilogy. Is that still in the air, or is it settling down to earth?

ME: I got one more in me then we’ll see…

Check out a full synopsis of the book and trailer, and make your purchase here: 


Debbie Corte said...

Great questions Angela! Thanks for doing this :)

Stacy L said...

Absolutely amazing! Thanks for giving us more insight.

Roc N Rose said...

Enlightening, Angela, thank you!

Tina Payne said...

Amazing interview and photo! Thanks for this Thanksgiving week gift of more of Michael Easton the writer, actor and person! I just love all of it!

Anonymous said...

OMFG. You met ME. Kill me now.

Wow. I don't know if I should read this book. It sounds pretty hardcore. Great interview.

Angela Rynan Durrell said...

Oh, no, Teresa -- you should DEFINITELY read the book. Just brace yourself for it.'s not a pretty story, but it's a good one, and it's actually a fun one sometimes. But you have to pay attention. This isn't light reading by any stretch.

It's totally worth it. ;)

navyblue said...

Cool beans!